The Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association (“CARHA Hockey”) is committed to a sport and work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to participate and work in an environment which promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices.
Harassment is a form of discrimination and is prohibited by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by Human Rights legislation in every province and territory of Canada. Harassment/discrimination is offensive, degrading and threatening. In its most extreme forms, harassment can be an offence under Canada's Criminal Code.
CARHA Hockey encourages leagues, teams, tournaments, players and coaches to implement policy in regard to harassment such that all individuals feel welcome in the inclusive sport of hockey.
CARHA Hockey strongly recommends that any such policy should:
- make it clear that harassment will not be tolerated. Members found to have engaged in conduct constituting harassment/discrimination, may be disciplined and/or suspended to the full extent of this policy and the law.
- commit to the education of all its members and to provide information to parents/guardians of youth members regarding harassment.
- apply to all employees, directors, officers, administrators, volunteers, coaches, athletes, officials, and members of your organization. Every member shall avoid and shall discourage others' expressions or displays of prejudice, bigotry, sexual comments or racial slurs. Even the appearance of bigotry or prejudice can damage mutual respect between teams, athletes, management, staff, etc.
For the purposes of any policy, sport and/or workplace harassment can occur in the following places: a) at sporting events, competitions, and in training sessions; b) at the office; c) at sport related social functions; d) at the business functions relating to the sporting activity and its member clubs, such as meetings, conferences, training sessions and workshops; e) during sport related travel; f) through any form of communication device/system including but not limited to telephone, email, fax, websites, postal service; g) any formal or informal location where the harassment of a person is a result of their sport related involvement.
Definition of Harassment:
Harassment is any improper behaviour by any person towards another which a person knows or ought to know would be unwelcome. This behaviour includes comments, conduct or gestures which are insulting, intimidating, humiliating, hurtful, malicious, degrading, or otherwise offensive to an individual or group of individuals or which creates an uncomfortable environment, or which might reasonably be expected to cause embarrassment, insecurity, discomfort, offense, or humiliation to another person or group, including, but not limited to:
- written or verbal abuse or threats;
- physical assault;
- unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, or taunting about a person's body, sexual orientation, attire, age, marital status, ethnic or racial origin, religion, etc;
- displaying of sexually explicit, racist or other offensive or derogatory material, or sexual, racial, ethnic or religious graffiti;
- practical jokes which directly or indirectly cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endangering a person's safety or negatively affecting performance;
- hazing or initiation rights;
- leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures;
- intimidation, through the suggestion or offer of a reward or privilege or through threats of retaliation related to speaking out about harassment;
- condescension, paternalism, or patronizing behaviour which undermines self-respect or adversely affects performance or working conditions;
- conduct, comments, gestures or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or any opportunity for selection, training or advancement;
- false accusations of harassment motivated by malice or mischief, and meant to cause other harm, is considered harassment;
- sexual harassment, including a single event or a series of incidents involving unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or other verbal conduct of a sexual nature including, without limitation, the following:
- when such conduct might reasonably be expected to cause embarrassment, insecurity, discomfort, offense, or humiliation to another person or group;
- when submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a condition of employment/sport related activity;
- when submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for any employment/sport decision (including, but not limited to, matters of promotion, raise in salary, job security, benefits affecting the employee, team selection);
- when such conduct has the purpose or the effect of interfering with a person's work/sport performance/experience or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work/sport environment.
- sexual Abuse when a young person is used by an older child, adolescent or adult for his or her own sexual stimulation or gratification.
The objectives of any policy should be:
- to prevent discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, ability or religious affiliations;
- to alert the fact that harassment is an offence under the law;
- to establish the types of behaviour that shall be considered offensive;
- to establish a mechanism for receiving complaints of harassment and provide a procedure to deal with these complaints; and
- to create an awareness of the nature and types of harassment.
For the purposes of any such policy, retaliation against an individual for having filed a complaint under the policy, or for having participated in any procedure under the policy, or for having been associated with a person who filed a complaint or participated in any procedure under the policy, will be treated as harassment, and should not be tolerated.
Any such policy shall require all those applicable to take assertive action should they feel that they are being subjected to harassment and to foster an environment free of harassment by attempting to stop incidents of harassment whether there is a complaint or not. Any failure to take appropriate corrective action may be interpreted as condoning the prohibited behaviour.
Notwithstanding the existence of a policy, every person continues to have the right to seek assistance from the Ontario Human Rights Commission or other avenues.
CARHA Hockey understands that it can be extremely difficult to come forward with a complaint of harassment and that it can be devastating to be wrongly convicted of harassment.
Any policy shall make it clear that confidential information shall not be disclosed to outside parties, including without limitation, the name of the complainant, the circumstances giving rise to a complaint, or the name of the respondent, unless such disclosure is required by a disciplinary or other remedial process.
All records of complaints, including contents of meetings, interviews, results of investigations and other relevant material should be kept confidential except where disclosure is required by a disciplinary or other remedial process or where required to disclose by statute.
In all reported instances, a prompt, thorough, fair investigation should take place giving careful consideration to protect the rights and dignity of all people involved. The regular procedures associated with privacy and confidentiality will be observed at all times, including the sealing of all documents upon the conclusion of the investigation.
Physical Abuse of Children and Touching in a Sexual Manner:
Physical abuse is when a person in a position of power or trust purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child or youth. This may take the form of slapping, hitting, shaking, kicking, pulling hair or ears, throwing, shoving, grabbing, hazing or excessive exercise as a form of punishment.
Neglect is chronic inattention to the basic necessities of life such as clothing, shelter, nutritious diets, education, good hygiene, supervision, medical and dental care, adequate rest, safe environment, moral guidance and discipline, exercise and fresh air. An example of this may be when injuries are not adequately treated or players are made to play with injuries, equipment is inadequate or unsafe, no-one intervenes when team members are persistently harassing another athlete, or road trips are not properly supervised.
Duty to Report:
Abuse and neglect are community problems requiring urgent attention. Persons working closely with children and youth have a special awareness of abusive situations. Therefore these people have a particular reporting responsibility to ensure the safety of Canada's young people by knowing their provincial protection acts and following through as required.
Ontario has mandatory reporting laws regarding the abuse and neglect of children and youth. Any policy should include that any personnel (part-time and full-time staff, volunteer, participant, team official, parent, guardian) who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a participant is or may be suffering or may have suffered from emotional, physical abuse and neglect and/or sexual abuse shall immediately report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to the local child protection agency and/or the local police detachment. Across Canada a person is considered a child up to the age of 16 to 19 years depending on provincial legislation.
Coach/Athlete Sexual Relationships:
Intimate sexual relationships between coaches (and other persons in positions of power) and adult athletes, except married or common-law relationships, while not against the law, can have harmful effects on the athlete involved, or on other athletes and coaches.
Should a sexual relationship develop between a coach, trainer, manager or person in a similar positions of power and an athlete, steps should be taken to investigate and take action which could include re-assignment, the removal of the coach-athlete relationship, or if this is not possible, a request for resignation.